It's been a long tour and friends are always great to have.
Okay, Mags, calm down, I had to tell myself. And in a flash, the tallest of the three ran up to register where I was standing.
“Look man, I don’t want any trouble…Please don’t do this!” I was beginning to get frantic with what I thought, well I was pretty sure this guy was going to rob this store…but who robs bookstores? Honestly.
The other two came up behind him and the man slowly pulled out his hand from his pocket. I felt a scream slither its way into my tightened throat.
“Lil Bug calm down!”
I swear I could have hurt Taylor as he took off the sunglasses and hat.
“Taylor York I swear I hate you!” I ran around the counter as I saw Zac and Josh Farro take off their disguises too.
“Oh Maggie, you’ve always had a flair for the dramatic haven’t you?” Taylor asked grinning from ear to ear.
“Screw you Tay,” I said while beginning to blush, hugging him hard.
“Aww, you don’t mean it Maggie,” I heard Josh say from behind Taylor. He grabbed me into a hug just as Taylor had.
“Oh but I do,” I said once away from Josh. Then I just stood there and stared at Zac. He was a cubby loveable guy, a little taller than me by about three inches…and did I mention he’s had a crush on me since eighth grade together. Yeah well it happens right? I remember when I first moved back to Franklin and since Taylor is three years older, he was in high school already, Josh, Hayley and Jeremy were all a year ahead of me and in high school as well, so Zac and I were stuck together. Not that it was a bad thing.
“Hey. What? I don’t get a hug?” He asked playfully. “I see how it is Margaret.” Ugh I seriously hated when people called me that but when Zac did, my old lady name sounded okay.
“Okay Zachary, that’s how it is,” I said turning to face the others. His laughing should have given him away but it didn’t. Zac reached behind me and pulled me into him.
“I’ve missed you too Maggie,” he said into my ear. Oh yeah and to clear things up, Zac Farro had the habit of making my heart melt. I could’ve just turned around and kissed him then and there, right in front of my cousin and Zac’s brother and it seriously took a lot of me not to. I could tell he felt it too by the way he held onto me a second longer.
“Sooo…” Taylor said, “how about that lunch I promised you. I hope you don’t mind me dragging Jay-Zee with me.” I laughed at the stupid nickname we gave the Farro brothers. I thought it was cute but Josh thought it was annoying. Then again, he’s the one that gave Hayley the nick name “Cinna-Tits” and me “Suga-Tits”, he had no room to talk about stupid names.
“Yeah Suga-Tits, I hope you don’t mind.” I had already begun clocking out for my forty-five minutes of freedom.
“Joey, I’m taking lunch!” I yelled to my co-worker. “You know Josh, I don’t understand why you gave me that name. It’s not like you’ve had the privilege to taste my tits, so how do you know they taste like sugar?”
“Ooohhh!” Zac and Taylor yelled in unison.
“Oh but Zac has!”
Ouch! Joshua was referring to me and Zac making out in his bedroom right before the tour and Josh walked in right in time to see Zac squeeze my boob under my shirt. He would never let us, especially me, live it down. I mean, I’d be sixty years old and he’d still bring it up.
Zac nodded hysterically and I hit him for it. He was supposed to be on my side!
“To clarify Joshua, Zachary has never tasted my tits, only my mouth thank you very much Mister Know-It-All. That reminds me…where’s Jeremy and how’s Hayley?” I knew Hayley was probably sleeping at her parent’s house now.
That’s when Taylor had to break it up. Had I hit a sore subject? Everyone was happy when Josh and Hayley got together.
“Jeremy went to see his family today and…umm, Mags, Hayley and Josh broke up.”
Josh looked at the floor and let Zac speak.
“They said it was getting weird. You now, kissing and having paparazzi taking pictures of it. And really it was sickening to see our band members put out like that. So they called it quits for a while.” Zac looked solemn about the break-up.
“That’s…fucked up Josh.” I didn’t say it mean, more of a ‘damn, you guys were really cute together’ way. “How is Hayley taking it?”
“I don’t feel like she sings for me anymore,” Josh murmured as we walked into the Bread Company across the street from Books-a-Million.
Everyone knew that Josh fell for Hayley when he heard her sing. It was just his thing. He once told me that when she sang, he would feel his heart break, not in a bad way, but because it was so beautiful and yearning.
“Joshy,” I coaxed as he and I sat down in a booth while Zac and Tay ordered our food. “I’m sure things will work out. I mean, you guys together just makes since.” He looked up at me and smiled faintly. I hugged him like a mother would hug her son. “And really, Hayley isn’t stupid. She knows what a good guy you are. You guys are,” I crossed my fingers and held them up to him, “like this.” He smiled faintly again and laid his head on my shoulder.
“Speaking of relationships,” oooh no!, “what about you and Zac?”
I didn’t let myself get defensive.
“Yeah and so is me and Hayley. Probably more complicated if you think about it.”
“No it’s not more complicated. You guys are big now. It was different when you guys still played in garages and high schools. Now you guys play in places like Japan and Russia---.”
“We haven’t played in Russia.”
“So not the point. You and Hayley actually get to spend time together regardless of tour dates. Me and Zac…well we wouldn’t.” I looked over at Zac Farro in his gray hoodie with his hands in his pockets, talking to Taylor. “I would give anything to be with him but it just can’t happen.” My eyes were still glued to him when he turned around. He had a thing were he could always feel me looking at him, thinking about him, or talking about him. I guess you could say that it was our connection. He made a silly face at me, making me laugh, and then winked at me.
“You know he’s said he’d give it all up for you countless times.” I gasped at the thought of Zac giving up his career drumming for me.
“No. I couldn’t let him do that. It just wouldn’t be right, you know that. Zac has his life mapped out for already.” I heard Josh sigh at me.
“You know we’re writing a new album.” I nodded. A new album meant that my friends would leave me to record and tour, again. Now matter what, I wouldn’t get used to them being gone. Wow, that was such a “Franklin” moment.
‘Cause you remind me of a time when we were so alive.
Do you remember that?
Do you remember that?
That line of “Franklin” always made me think about Zac.
“We’re going to be staying here, recording in Nashville. No touring for a while and maybe Zac could re-enroll at school. I mean, senior year hasn’t started up yet and it’d be fun and you’d have your Zacy back…He really misses you when we’re gone.”
“Yeah I know.” Just then, Taylor and Zac came to the booth with arms full of sandwiches and salads. Josh and I stopped our conversation immediately and he moved to the other side of the table so Zac could sit next to me. We were all settled when Taylor groaned.
“Crap I forgot the soda.” He refused to say “pop” like I did. (It’s from spending most of my years in Chicago.)
I had already started scooting towards Zac to let me out of the booth.
“Don’t worry Tay, I got it.” And Zac started to follow me.
We stood side by side at the fountain filling the four cups with ice and pop.
“Do you not want me to go back to school with you?” he asked suddenly. I noticed he wasn’t really helping me with the pops, just looking for an excuse to drop that bomb on me.
“Zac, you know I want you to.” I sighed. I hated relationships.
“Then what’s the problem Maggie?”
I sighed again. “I just don’t want to get serious with you just to miss you even more when you leave. I mean, let’s face it. You can’t in Franklin stay forever.”
He handed me a lid to a cup once I was finished filling it.
“Just say the word and I’ll stop,” he mumbled. He knew I hated that.
“Zac, no, I’m not going to let you stop for me. It’s flattering but what would you do if you dropped out of Paramore?”
He shrugged. “I’d go to college like you…”
I couldn’t help but smile at the boy.
“We both know college is not for you.” I took his chin in my hand and brought his face closer to me and I kissed his cheek swiftly.
“I love you Maggie. I always have.” He had said that to me at least twice before now and I tried not to be shocked by it.
“Zac, we’re only seventeen. We don’t even know what love is yet.”
“Liar. You know we do.” I should’ve known I wouldn’t have gotten that line over on him. He knew me way too well.
“Well, here,” I said handing him two pops, “I have to be back at work soon.”
“Hey,” he said nudging me with his elbow, “we gonna get those frozen, icy, coffee thingies? You know, with the whipped cream and crazy amounts of espresso?”
I nodded enthusiastically, smiling at him as we walked. We both knew from experience that having four of those bad boys could send a person into caffeine overload. We spent the whole night drumming (well Zac did, I kind of just banged on them), jumping on beds, and walking around Franklin together.
“Duh!” I laughed. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world Zac!”
He nudged me again as we walked toward our table and whispered three little words into my ear that made my heart stop. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too.”